Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Does Mother's Day make birth mothers blue? YES.

Lorraine
Mother's Day, that extra holiday from hell for many of us, is Sunday. And in some cities and places a new holiday the day before has sprung up: BIRTHmothers Day. (BTW, when is Adoptivemothers Day? We are waiting.)

I've made myself pretty clear about how I feel about "birth mother * celebrations" and "birth mother" cards (nix to both, see links below) partially because they are generally the misguided concoction of adoption agencies to "give back" to the wholesale suppliers (that would be mothers) of the commodity they deal in, babies. I say this with the understanding that the Birthmother Day to be observed the day before Mother's Day was the brainchild of birth mothers in Seattle in 1990.


And I do understand the impulse to meet with other first mothers--I myself am trying to find a few out here on the eastern end of Long Island--and just let your hair down and tears out, if they will, and simply share an hour or two of understanding and acceptance over a glass of wine or two. Some have written to us that they have found some agency-sponsored celebrations pleasant and comforting.

But my main beef about "birth mother" holidays, is that they attempt to normalize the situation of giving up a child, when "normal" for that act is merely sad acceptance. I am not a "proud" birth mother and I do not want to "celebrate" my fate, no matter how the event is handled. If I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, so be it.

Today I discovered that in Rochester, New York, the Hillside Children's Center will host a gala Birthmother's Day celebration on Saturday, along with god knows how many other agencies across the land. The driving force behind this event was Casi Picow, who as the writer in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle tells us, "let the woman who gave birth to the baby live in her Greece home." 
Casi Picow, 53, left, saddles up to ride as her daughter, Shaylee, holds her horse, Riley, steady.
Casi Picow, 53, saddles up as her daughter, Shaylee, holds her horse.

Excuse me? That's in the first paragraph. I almost choked when I read that. After "letting" the, er, hand-maiden who is fertile and pregnant live in your home for months, all I could thing was: the poor teen/woman never had a chance to keep her baby. By the time he or she was born, the mother undoubtedly felt incredibly indebted to these nice people, and almost certainly would not have had the courage to stand up and say, I can't do this, I'm keeping my baby. Images running through my mind are Hagar (the handmaiden) and the elderly Sarah of the Bible, and how later Hagar, the mother who bore Abraham's first son was cast out--after elderly Sarah herself miraculously gave birth. (Isn't that often the way with so many adoptive parents, they adopt because they are not producing on their own, and then, a few years later, whoops! they get pregnant.) However, the unfortunate phrasing in the story (let the woman) must be credited to the writer of the piece, Robin. L. Falnigan; who knows what the situation actually was--maybe the woman desperately needed a home. But I digress.

Now this  modern day Sarah (above on horse), instead of casting out her Hagar, however is celebrating her: “It’s a way to honor where your children come from, to step back and be so extra grateful for the opportunity and the privilege of being a mom,” says Picow, who was present at her daughter’s birth and has an open adoption. Ah yes, present at the birth. Another goad to implanting in the pregnant woman's mind that she really must relinquish, that she has no choice...otherwise she will disappoint these terribly nice people.

THE DOUBLE-BIND OF OPEN ADOPTION
Paintings Reproductions Lorrain, Claude The Expulsion of Hagar, 1668
Expulsion of Hagar, by Claude Lorrain
Ever since I relinquished my daughter in 1966 I have been a proponent of open adoption if there must be an adoption, and wrote about it as a birth mother's right in Birthmark in 1979, when open adoptions did not exist. But today I understand they come with a double bind: yes, you know where your child is going, but getting to know these nice people and letting them be present at the birth itself is a consequence that I never would have imagined. Frankly, I am appalled. Birth should be a moment between mother and child--but not the parents who will be taking the child from that mother. Their presence at the birth itself, and what's worse, even symbolically cutting the cord, can only serve to further make the mother feel obligated to turn over her child. It is sickening that this has been the result of many an open adoption plan. What's even worse is that many of such "open adoptions," are shams: the mother doesn't even know the real names and addresses and all the contact information she needs to keep track of them, and her baby. It's all done through the agency, and if the adoptive parents want to shut down contact, they do. They hold all the power, as well as the child.

But I digress. Co-organizer of the Rochester event, social worker/adoptive mother Karen Rabish, makes the point that the event provides a safe place for adoptees to release their feelings within the protective umbrella of others in the same situation:
“It’s an interesting dynamic,” says the adoption social worker, facilitator of a local birthmothers support group and adoptive mom of two daughters. “Adoption is a journey; it’s not an event. You can’t shield your child from the sadness and loss of adoption, and this provides a nice segue to talk about it. There has been a lot of healing that’s happened because of the celebration.”
But then alarm bells went off when I read that graf: she facilities a birth mother support group and she is the adoptive mother of two?  Now I'm speechless. Can we imagine, in our wildest dreams, a first mother hosting and facilitating a support group for adoptive mothers? Who are currently upset (and apparently are lighting up the adoptive mother blogs and boards) because the character Thor in The Avengers explains his brother Loki's violent killing spree with the flip comment: "He's adopted."

Personal ironies abound in the Rochester story. The upcoming event that caught my eye is in the city of my downfall, at the very agency though which I relinquished my much-wanted daughter, and the story is  the Rochester D&C, the very place I was working when I became pregnant with the child of the political columnist who sat across the aisle from me.

LAST YEAR WAS FAR DIFFERENT FROM THIS YEAR
But yes, Mother's Day is Sunday, no way getting around that. Last year, weirdly enough, I got such a beautiful email from my found granddaughter that I did not share that here because it seemed too boastful. I knew many reading FMF would not be having a good day when the phone did not ring, or the child was still an unknown. But last year, I personally was flying high. That was in May. In the summer, said granddaughter met her biological father. I do not know what occurred. But I do know that my daughter and I were estranged when she was pregnant, and I did not know that she was pregnant until she had given birth. Though I understood the father wanted to raise the child with his mother--a plan I wholeheartedly supported--my daughter would not hear of it. To convince me he should not be allowed anywhere near their daughter, she said not nice things about the father. I did not know what to believe, dear reader, I admit that I doubted what she said, but I was powerless to do anything but accept her words at face value.

After the birth, my daughter and I reconnected on a very close level, and that year the gushiest, floweriest, biggest Mother's Day card arrived. No mention of "birth mother" on the card. Soon after she came for a visit. She was more understanding of me then she had ever been; it was as if she had been determined to find out for herself what relinquishment of one's own flesh and blood was like, to repeat history. Yes, it's sick, yet there it is. But going back to before...when we were apart and she was a couple with my granddaughter's father...I can only imagine what she said about me to him about me.

Not nice things.

Immediately after meeting her father, my granddaughter began drifting away--the phone calls were stilted, the emails were cool and short, the planned visit was cancelled--and finally in the late fall she wrote that she was in a good place now and wanted "no contact." I was dropped like a lover you are done with.

So here I sit this year. Oddly enough, after all these months, I don't feel much anymore about her. I feel rather numb. I am not hoping that she will change her mind, and want me in her life; I feel that would only lead to more disappointment down the line. And if she did want to resume a relationship, after I opened my home and my heart to her once, could I trust her to not leave me out in the cold again?

I've already gotten a funny card from my very ironic step-son, who never forgets. And he will probably phone. Always does.

Sunday will be another day. Though my husband and I often go out to brunch on Sundays, we will avoid the restaurants this day, as they will be wall to wall with adult children entertaining their mothers, as I once did mine. If it's nice, we'll garden--pull up weeds and those darned maple seedlings that sprout everywhere, trim the edges around the garden, put in the ornamental grasses we've bought to plant alongside the shed. Maybe we'll take in a movie--The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel got good reviews and looks like it will be amusing, and not a tear-jerker or a violent movie about the end of the world. The finale of Survivor is on that night--and yes, I am an old and avid Survivor fan and for those of you who are also, I'm rooting for Kim. And tick-tock, the day will be over.

And Monday it will not be Mother's Day anywhere for another year. --lorraine
______________

* Others may use birth mother as one word, but for me it will always be two, so that that MOTHER stands alone. Why not adoptivemother as a single word--English has long words, the meaning would be clear, and the adoptive mother would never be able to escape the adoptive part, just as we are not allowed to escape our lowly status as long as birthmother is a fucking single word. If you want to know how I really feel.

 Source: Birthmother's Day a source of healing

From FMF:
How Birth Mothers Survive 'Mother's Day

Why I'm not celebrating "Birth Mother's Day"

Mother's Day: The Holiday from Hell, Part 2

What’s Wrong with Birthmother Events on Mother’s Day? Just about EVERYTHING

 

61 comments :

  1. Beautiful post, Lorraine.
    I can't grasp how mothers can celebrate a day that underscores that they were not up to the task, in truth or simply in society's eyes, to take care of their children. Really, this is something to be proud of? They may as well call it "Glad I didn't have an Abortion Day". Isn't that what they're all so dang proud of? Sheesh, I know I am a mother, but if I looked at myself as a birthmother I would be hiding in shame, not asking for society's approval. Where was society when I wasn't good enough to parent my own child?
    There is so much reform needed in adoption today it's hard to know where to start. Going forward I think you brought up the most important point. Make it illegal to discuss adopting a woman's baby until the baby is at least two months old. Wouldn't that one law change everything?
    I wish we lived closer together. I would so enjoy that glass of wine or tea with you. Open invitation to any mothers coming to Chicago for the adoptee rights march. Dinner at my house in Oak Park, IL. My village borders Chicago and you are all welcome. Happy Mothers Day, Lorraine.

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  2. Hated Mother's Day ever since I became a "non-mother," i.e. gave up my son for adoption, in 1970. Had a difficult time honoring my own mother after that happened, since she was instrumental in the loss of my son. The month of May was hard for me every year, since my son was born about two weeks after that holiday. Then, in 1996, once I was reunited with my son, I loved finally being acknowledged as someone's mother. I attended a few Saturday celebrations for bmoms, while I was involved in post-adoption groups in California. It felt good... for a while. I'm back to dreading the holiday. Although who knows why? I am attending a Saturday luncheon this weekend for this very purpose to support other local moms. I'm sure I will come home disturbed. Then again, perhaps I can speak my truth and make a difference, before they kick me out. Report on that to come soon after: write-o-holic.blogspot.com

    Wish me luck!

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  3. Disclaimer: everyone is entitled to their own opinion on Birthmother's Day celebrations, there are good ones and bad ones, and my experience is not meant to criticize yours. Please do not attack mine.

    Having said that, I attended the NYC Birthmothers Day 15th annual dinner this week at Spence Chapin (yeah I know adoption agency, boo hiss...) and found it a worthwhile experience affirming of the motherhood of the women there, not just as mothers who surrendered but as human beings.

    This event did NOT glorify surrender, and it had nothing to do with getting pregnant women to surrender and join. There were women there of all ages, from early 20s recent open adoptions, to us old ladies who surrendered in the 50s and 60s and every age in between. Not one mother said a word about how great adoption was.
    There were some horrendously sad stories, including two deaths, some hard rejections, as well as happy reunions, on and off reunions, everything imaginable.

    Everyone was honored and able to speak. I read a poem, others shared their stories, one mother sang a song, and there was a touching slide show of reunions and baby pictures. It ended with a solemn candlelight circle led by Carol Schaefer who wrote "The Other Mother" which many of you have read and seen in the movie version. The women at this event were NOT a bunch of clueless agency shills or those who want to promote adoption for future generations unless it is absolutely necessary. It was about restoring shattered self-esteem and living the best life possible in spite of surrendering. It was about forgiveness, especially of ourselves.

    We were all wished a happy Mother's Day, and I intend to have one. Is that so terrible. after so many years? And no, I do not expect to hear from my surrendered son for this event, but it does not matter. I know I am his mother forever no matter what.

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  4. Maryanne, I do know that some women find solace and the birth mother events, and I hope I did not demean them, or you, for finding the Spence Chapin one comforting. We are all different. There's no right or wrong.

    So thank you for relating here your opposite reaction to something that doesn't sit quite right with me.

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  5. "...facilitator of a local birthmothers support group and adoptive mom of two daughters." EEKS - the burglar returned to the bank to install a security system. (snark)

    Back to your terrific post...Mother's Day is a bummer but I am thinking of a new tactic to deal with it. Possibly pampering myself with a weekend getaway to just have fun and not be obligated to attend any functions. This may be the start of a new tradition for me. We'll see.

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  6. Addendum, added today...

    * Others may use "birth mother" as one word, but for me it will always be two, so that that MOTHER stands alone. Why not "adoptivemother" as a single word--English has long words, the meaning would be clear, and the adoptive mother would never be able to escape the "adoptive" part, just as we are not allowed to escape our lowly status as long as "birthmother" is a fucking single word. If you really want to know how I feel.

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  7. I do hope that for you, Lorraine and other first mothers that Mother's Day is not too painful. I feel that my n-mother was my mother every day of my life.

    Of course there is no Adoptive Mother's Day. The AM is considered the child's real mother and therefore needs no modifier. Our culture tries to minimize the importance of the natural mother or make her role minute.

    From the closed era where many mothers didn't even get to see their babies, who were whisked away and given a falsified birth certificate to now where PAPs are in the delivery room. I don't think this is done only to put pressure on the natural mother to relinquish (although it certainly has that effect). I think it is also a misguided attempt to further diminish the role/connection of the first mother and to strengthen the notion that the PA-mother is the REAL mother.

    It used to be enough to place the baby within a few days or weeks after birth. Now a PA-mother can think "I was there when you were born, I saw the cord cut, I am your REAL mother". What next? Giving the PA-mother an epidural so she'll think she participated in the birth? (okay I'll admit I'm getting snarky).

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  8. No offense taken from your original post, Lo. One of those things we can agree to disagree about. Just trying to be sure I am not taken to be criticizing those of you who do not like the concept of Birthmother Day. It is personal opinion, and it may vary.

    As to "birthmother" as a single word, Lee Campbell who first started using it that way said it was intended it to be like "grandmother" which is a single word and implies no "lowly status".
    If someone wants to write "adoptivemother as one word, that would be fine too as far as I am concerned.

    I really do not care what word anyone uses or how they break it up or don't as long as they mean well. I still don't see why people get so upset about it, but please, everyone, feel free to use what works for you and I will use what works for me.

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  9. Please let me say that I'm sorry for your pain. To all of you and anyone suffering on Sunday. After I ask this question, please feel free to say F off, this isn't the time if that's how you feel. I'm looking for ways to help my children honor their original mothers in Russia (who they may or may never meet) each mother's day. My ideas have been to write a note (or scribble) and make a collage with their mother's name on it. Then my children can put it in a safe place and look at it anytime. If, someday, they actually can/want to find their mothers, they would have something to give them from childhood. I welcome your ideas. We've also always sent money to an organization that helps relieve poverty and keep families together in Russia.

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  10. Actually, Barbara, what you have the kids do sounds like a good idea. It tells them that it's okay to think about their mothers--on Mother's Day and anytime.

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  11. I'm not sure if I should wish you a Happy Mother's Day or not :) I don't wish to add to any hurt. But I do wish you a fine day of gardening and a day of peace; that is my wish for all mothers, everywhere. A day of peace. When we stand together, we can be strong, even if we are standing on opposite ends of the fence.

    And slightly off topic, I wanted you to know that having PAP's in the delivery room might have one other affect not considered too.

    We were present at the birth of "A's" son. She asked us to be there and had asked us to be his parents months before the birth.

    We were not comfortable with being present but as her Mom would not have anything to do with the pregnancy/birth, it was decided that I would "stand in" at her behest.

    It was the tenderest, most amazing thing I have ever witnessed and please know that I too have birthed a child, but never witnessed a birth as a bystander or under the circumstances "A" had to endure.

    The respect and love I gained for "A" was cemented in watching her courage through a difficult and scary labor. One made more difficult because her own Mother would not attend and there was no "celebration" as I had experienced with my own.

    The bubble burst quickly when well intented but clueless nurses quickly tried to take this baby/Mama moment from "A" and attempted to introduce me into the mix. I could see immediately that this was a time that should be for "A", the baby and ONLY them.

    I decided right then and there that no papers would be signed until this struggling young Mother had time to be just that. A mother, with nothing promised and nothing predetermined. She needed a friend and I was the only one available.

    Weeks passed and we presumed that "A" had decided to keep her child. I wanted so much to reach out to her in support, but feared it would look like pressure. So we stayed silent. To this day I don't know if that was the right thing to do or not. It must have been an isolating time for her, but I also felt our presence might be misconstrued.

    One month after delivery "A" contacted us and asked if we still wished to parent her child. After long private discussions, it seemed this was what "A" needed. Wanted? I'm not sure. But needed? Yes.

    So today we are the parents of 2 boys, both born of love and BOTH with strong, beautiful Mothers. One of our little men has one Mother and the other treasure has TWO equally loving Moms.

    AND after witnessing her strength and so much more in that labor room, I would NEVER consider NOT having her as a part of our family.No fake names and no false addresses. NO way. Not after all that I witnessed.

    It might not be the norm and I so understand the risk and implied "promise" when the PAP's attend the birth.....but wanted to offer one more insight on how that experience can affect a relationship built in adoption.

    All my best,

    Elise

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  12. Thank you, Elise, for a different side of the story. Your situation sounds quite different than what I am thinking of, and the clueless nurses were undoubtedly doing merely what they had done before.

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  13. “She’s stonewalling Pax’s birth mom because she thinks Pax is too young and impressionable to understand the complexities of his biological mother’s life."

    And didn't Angelina Jolie used to be a heroin addict? Didn't she carry around a vile of blood around her neck that belonged to "Billy Bob"? Now, she is Mother Theresa?

    What a hypocrite.

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  14. Whoops, I just took this down because I meant to post it at the previous blog, but since there was a comment already, I am reposting.

    In other news:

    ANGIE TERROR OF LOSING PAX AS BIRTH MOM WANTS HIM BACK!

    ANGELINA JOLIE is fighting to keep her family together after the birth mother of her adopted son PAX begged to reconcile with him!

    The Vietnamese-born 8-year-old’s heroin-addicted mom has kicked her drug habit and desperately wants to reconnect with him, sources say. But Angelina believes a reunion would be too overwhelming for Pax right now.

    “Angelina is going through every adop­tive mother’s worst nightmare,” said an insider.

    “She’s stonewalling Pax’s birth mom because she thinks Pax is too young and impressionable to understand the complexities of his biological mother’s life.

    --the national enquirer...

    Note: Life is always complicated and messy. Thanks to Mrstarquinbisquitbarrel for this story.

    May 10, 2012 3:20 PM
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  15. What really scares me is that years from now, no one will know what the word mother means anymore It will have to be explained. Mother(woman who gave birth),mother(woman who raised a child),mother(woman who was used as a rent-a-womb)mother(woman who's egg was used) mother (woman who raised a child and used an egg from 1 woman and a uterus from a second woman), mother( a woman who raised a child and used her own egg and rented another woman's uterus) Too creepy.Like science fiction Happy Mother's Day to all

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  16. Aw, thanks, Lo.

    And may I gingerly offer [[[[HUGS]]]] on one of the most difficult days of the year?

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  17. Your source is the National Enquirer?

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  18. Lol at 'b' mothers day. It is such an American thing - I am just thrilled I live in a part of the world where we don't have to put up with that insult.

    Anyway, my attitude to Mother's Day has changed recently. I miss my daughter every day so one day isn't going to change that and if anything, from now on I am going to use this day to celebrate my pure motherhood (pure as in I didn't have to steal or coerce a mother to part with her baby as some out there have done - in particular the woman who has my daughter).

    It was society that put us in a head space that we are not mothers - that losing our child has made us a non mother. But we are far from it. We are Amazon women who deserve to be recognised. We have suffered enough. I am tired of the seperateness we are dished out - we are mothers and if it wasn't for us being mothers to begin with certain other women couldn't claim that title either.

    So I am celebrating my motherhood this year and letting the world know I am a mother - I don't accept prefixes and don't recognise them. My stretch marks, my memories of THREE labours and births and my hospital records show the fact I am a mother three times over even if that is not recognised by the law so I thumb my nose to the institution of adoption and take back my rightful place. And I feel all mothers of adoption loss or any sort of loss (miscarriage, still birth etc) should do the same.

    HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO US WONDERFUL MOTHERS and don't let the industry tell you who you are!

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  19. Yes to Anon:

    Remember who broke the John Edwards story?

    The National Enquirer.

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  20. I didn't even realize this week was Mother's Day until I read this. This year it has not bothered me like it might have in the past. Let's hope I am just as lucky next year.

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  21. @Anon 6:37 p.m.

    I have also noticed that the term "birthmother" is now being used to replace mother (i.e.for a child who was born to and raised by her natural mother). I have heard this recently on talk shows a couple times where a guest will say "She's my birthmother" when the person speaking is not an adoptee and the story has nothing to do with adoption. Adoption lingo
    seems to have gone mainstream.

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  22. I wanted to share this, and dedicated to my Mamma, who just passed away last August...

    If roses grow in Heaven
    Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
    Place them in my Mother's arms
    and tell her they're from me.

    Tell her that I love her and miss her
    and when she turns to smile,
    place a kiss upon her cheek
    and hold her for awhile.

    Because remembering her is easy,
    I do it every day,
    but there's an ache within my heart
    that will never go away.

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  23. Oh Lee, thanks for the poem. And bringing it here.

    My mother died on May 1, 1999 and I still miss her terribly. We had a somewhat rough time when I was growing up, but later we became very close. She really did so much for me. My father didn't think girls needed to go to college, and I never would have been able to without her steady and strong support. After I told her about my daughter, and that I would be going public with my story when it was considered quite shocking--what would the neighbor's think?--she fully supported me. In her own way, she was a brave, strong woman.

    After I left home, I always sent her flowers for Mother's Day, and Easter and even Valentine's Day. Yes, it seems like nothing, but I miss being able to do that.

    Good night, Mom. XXX

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  24. Hi Lorraine, first time posting.
    While checking out at the grocery store yesterday, the cashier was cheerfully wishing every woman a
    'Happy Mothers Day'. I couldn't help but think how triggering this phrase could be for so many women : mothers who lost children to adoption/death, bad relationships with mothers/infertile women wishing to conceive/adopt and of course adoptees searching for their original mothers. Since I have now been in reunion for over 16 years with my only child lost to adoption in 1969, and have received most precious ( not gushy ) simple Mothers Day cards from her, I am now able to handle this particular day that had previously been so difficult.
    Thank you Lorraine for your wonderful blog and thanks to all the other first/natural mother and adoptee blogs, I have learned so much in the last few months. Open adoption, AP's in the delivery room, pre-birth consent forms,I thought I had now heard it all.
    But surprise, I fell across another new one: AP's who take drugs to induce lactation in order to breastfeed their newly adopted infants;one was a PAP who had not even been matched yet! I must admit to a knee-jerk reaction to this idea and it gave me much food for thought ( yes, irony!)Perhaps
    this could make a great seperate post if you ever run out of material! Hugs to everyone out there in adoptoland! Lynn

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  25. Lo, so sorry you are feeling blue. It must be difficult to get through this day for you and other first mothers. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your beautiful daughter. I cannot imagine all you have been through.

    Loved Elise's comment and perspective. Let's VENT, but learn too!

    As an adoptee, I too hate Mother's Day, especially this year. My a mom passed away 2 months ago. We were not particularly close, but we loved one another. She was the favorite grandma, the one who lived closest- the sleep-over, chocolate chip pancake Grandma. We all miss her.

    My b mother, the hot, match.com grandma broke up with me in an angry tirade last June. She is unable to sustain stable relationships. I now understand this is not MY issue. I think I am the least of her worries.

    I ran into her 2 days before my bday this past February. She resides 9 hours away. It was like a scene from a movie. Seeing her once more gave me the closure I needed to move forward and I considered it a gift. I was pleasant, polite (yet guarded), during our 3 minute exchange in a department store. She looked as if she had seen a ghost. My dear friend served as witness, thankfully, to vouch for my sanity. There was no physical contact.

    Whether she was conscious of it or not, I believe she traveled to my city to resolve her 43 year old issue-my birth and abandonment. Yet she threw another opportunity down the drain when she walked away again....

    Upon returning home that evening I received a birthday card from her, mailed from her home town, the generic sort, signed simply in name only. From the moment we reunited, I craved a simple, "I'm sorry". I now see the depth of her narcissism and realize it's not possible for her to acknowledge my hurts and feelings--ever.

    I recall she described her feelings after my birth as, "I remember seeing you in the nursery. It was sad, but I felt like I was doing something nice for someone else." No emotion, no depth, no excuses, no regrets, no remorse, but, at least honesty.

    My b mom changed the trajectory of my life. I'll never know who I would've been without this trauma I was born into. At least she had 19 years pre-trauma. I'll never know if she would've grown into a decent mom. I'll never know that other side of myself that could have been....

    I said goodbye to two mothers within one week's time, yet I never felt that I had a mom.

    Not speaking for all adoptees, only me, but Father's Day is no walk in the park either. However, the worst-holiday-ever-is my birthday. I was left unheld, unnamed, unloved, in an orphanage for 72 days. I feel sorry for my little, lonely self! It's hard knowing I entered the world unwanted, unwelcome and as an inconvenience. After my birth, my b mom attended a fancy design school in my city and lived a few miles away from the orphanage.

    I find myself thinking of this woman who gave birth to me. Is she human, damaged, the victim of sexual abuse? I find myself wondering if she's thinking about me, thinking about her, then I get mad at myself for thinking about someone who doesn't deserve my energy, someone who's been given a second chance (and third, fourth) and throws it all away. She's now raising a 13 year old son conceived via egg donor and has 50% custody after yet another divorce. She told me how thrilled she was to have a boy. Ouch. He has no idea who he is and neither does she.

    My friends tell me how lucky I am that she didn't raise me.

    I had an amazing day with my s daughter yesterday, she said she doesn't know anyone else who's been through as much as I have (there's more!). She admires my perceived strength. That means a lot.

    I'm working on forgiveness-not easy!

    I'm committed to having a wonderful day with my husband, dad, in-laws and precious daughter and son on Sunday. I deserve it, and so do each of you.

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  26. Oh, Diane, life just sometimes sucks. Your nmom obviously has major issues, and I'm so sorry that she is not able to get past them.

    Yes, Anon, just blindly wishing every woman past 25 Happy Mother's Day is absurd. It's got to be painful not only for first mothers, but all those you list. If anyone says it to me like that I might just look them in the eye and say: My daughter died four years ago. Suicide.

    And maybe they will shut up and stop their stupid banality.

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  27. Even being in a stable, working relationship with my lost daughter this day is not easy.

    Sending all my positive energy out to all of you here for which this day is agonizing and can't get over fast enough. Breathe, and rise above.
    You are all in my heart today. Please know that many of you here have helped me in this journey and will continue to help.

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  28. Hi Lorraine,
    As always, an honest tell-it-like it is post.
    This Mother's Day for the first time in a long time, I've decided not to worry at all about whether I hear from my daughter or not. We haven't spoken in over a year, so I don't expect it. And, for once, it doesn't hurt too much to accept that. Yes, a residual ache, but not the raw hurt I've felt other years. To some extent, I feel as though I did all I could to welcome her into my life and then - bang - her husband died suddenly and I know she isn't in a place to be able to "deal" with me because that's another hurt to remember - that your mother gave you away. It wasn't by choice, but, for her, it feels like abandonment, I think and she won't let herself go there. I had an interesting talk with a woman who I'm in choir with. She is 60 and, only a few years ago, was able to articulate what it felt like to lose her natural mother. And she also admitted that when she had her own children was when she most thought of trying to find her mother, but was too afraid of being rejected again. So, these are very deep hurts and Mother's Day is a very tough holiday for that reason. I am lucky because I have a son I was able to keep and raise and today I spent time remembering some of the memories of his early childhood and how joyful I felt about holding my own baby that no one could take away. I also thought about how maybe it's time to give him more space in my life. The hurt of losing my first child will never go away, but I have another child who loves me and doesn't have to worry about whether he can "deal" with me or not. Time will tell about what will happen between my daughter and I. If she ever wants back in my life, I can't imagine rejecting her, but I also can't imagine trusting her again.

    Angela

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  29. Ahhh...Angela, you said it right, we welcome our children back but each time we trust them less.

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  30. Lorraine, I'm surprised at you, trust us less? trust us less, we're just doing what was shown to us from the beginning.

    and for the record my mom has walked out not once, not twice, not three times, i could keep counting she wasn't there for anything! not the good times, not the abuse, the times i was hungry. etc. so it goes both ways... adoptees arent the bad guys, we are the products of the situations and deal with it the best we know how. that's how we deal with it... and it birth moms dont want to understand the consequences of adoption is that we are fucking broken individuals and if you want us in your lives we aren't going to be like the children you kept, we are going to have a hard time dealing.

    It goes both ways with respect, I dont condone disrespect of birth moms, but birth moms bashing adoptees is hilarious

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  31. I hear ya Jenn! It just makes me shake my head at the absolute inability for the mothers...both kinds...to really see and attmept to understand. We are just the product of someones hurt and pain..the product of someones "dreams come trure" not matter who we REALLY are...we are just a symbol my dear..not a real person..not an indivual...just a damn symbol....we just can't quite get how its suppose to be....how we are nothing more then a healing vessel for everyone else...yes...i have been triggered big time. Thank you for bringing it up.

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  32. another thing to add..we adoptees were BORN not trusting....maybe thats why we back off...its called survival...at its basest form

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  33. I had the best Mother's Day ever, because for the first time I was wished a Happy Mother's Day by ALL of my children, including my oldest. I did not expect that, and feel very blessed. My husband and son who lives here took me out to an Indian restuarant, and it was a lovely day altogether.

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  34. Jenn and dpen: We can understand why you/adopated individuals don't trust us--being given up is a horrible act that leaves an indelible impression, I will call it Primal Wound--but if anyone walks out--birth mother/fulltime mother/adoptee/lover/spouse/boyfriend/girl friend without explanation or seeming cause--isn't only natural and self-protective to be wary if such a person comes back? Aren't you slightly wary of your mother, the one who has walked out, as you say, a couple of times--even after reunion? I can imagine that pain that causes.

    My daughter periodically drifted out of my life after a great reunion, after living with us for summers--once for more than a year--for a reason that had nothing to do with me but to prove to her adoptive mother that she was worthy of being loved. She came back with a simple phone call that began, How are you? We resumed as before. After this happened several times, it was not unreasonable to assume it would happen again. It was the price of giving her up, finding her, having a relationship.

    I'm not bashing anybody, and am really quite surprised that you read it that way. People do what they have to do to preotect themselves. My husband and I welcomed my "found" granddaughter into our hearts and home, and for more than a year we had a great relationship. Out of the blue she wanted no contact, and then was annoyed I wanted some kind of explanation. We both gave her a number of meaningful things-- that were meant for a granddaughter--not for someone passing through our lives briefly, as it seems to have turned out. Since this kind of behavior is not normal in the world of not adoption, I can only assume this comes out of a deep and indelible hurt. I can understand--and god knows I've read about it enough--but that doesn't make it much easier when it slaps you in the face.

    As for first mothers and fathers who walk out after a reunion, I don't know what to think of them. I can't get inside their heads. I assume they must have such deep hurt inside they can't see past that, how their actions hurt other peoplem how they hurt their children.

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  35. Oh my good gawd noone was bashing adoptees. I believe the title of this blog posting was "Does Mother's Day make birth mothers blue". We can't even express OUR pain without being accused of bashing someone.

    We have ALL been hurt by adoption and this is a forum for us as mothers of adoption loss to vent. Wow. I am so sick of the "my pain is worse than your pain" B.S, the cattiness and denouncing of what one has said and turned around to make it appear as if someone has been "bashed".

    Perhaps if you, Jenn and Dpen tried to understand how we felt instead of bringing your pissing contest here YOU would get it.

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  36. Jenn and dpen,
    What I hear you saying is natural mothers should not "trust their adult child less" but rather just accept and expect that one day they may be gone without a word and we should just realize that our actions caused this type of relationship so just deal. Did I get that right?
    It's hard to take living in fear that your child will just one day walk out without a word. But I get it that what adoptees had to deal with was the pits, so maybe turn about is fair game.
    There have been quiet times with my daughter but no major pull backs. If it does happen I hope to remember that this is just part of the reunion package.

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  37. Lorriane,

    Its A basic lack trust that we have lived with since birth. Its ingrained it has become part of our esstianal being. It does not happen at some later time in life, we often don't even know we are carrying it and can't understand why we are so hypervigilant. I am willing to bet the most if not all adoptees are not ctuel and insenstive as we have been called...on this site....many just run from the guilt of not being able to give what is wanted from us ..how can we? We don't know what we need or want...then the anger because even though there is a lot of BLAHBLAH about what we adoptees need and how the mothers really want to help us ect...when push comes to shove and it comes down th the wire...there is no real understanding as eveidenced by some of the comments we hear. They tend to be about mothers(both) hurt and there need to protect themselves.

    I am so sorry...I know i am not being nice...but i am beinghonest.

    After rereading your comment i can see you didn't mean to bash all adoptees but there is a subtle dig that "our children" can't be trusted...trusted to what? absorb who they are? recieve understanding or an attempt to see whats happening with them...especially the young ones who have yet to fully comprehnd what has happened to them.

    I often think that in reunion the expecations of either the first mothers or adoptees are the same. The first mother expects the adoptee to behave in some way and the adoptee expecst the first mother to behave in some way....both thinking that they are coming from an even playing field. WE ARE NOT....there are so many reasons why adoption is so differnt for one or the other and the hurts are very different. when an adoptee says they feel rejected, abandoned ect it is fully ingrained in them from birth. something they never knew they felt until it hits them square in the face...ususally as an adult...but their lives have been based on those inferior feelings....hugly impacting who they have become...for me anyway. Even with the most wonderful parents and all the love and security i recieved...being left alone at such a vunerable age is a HUGE thing for any baby....human to deal with.

    I say all this not to blame...gawd i KNOW most of you didn't know that..hell..most of society does not get it. But years later when we hear how cruel and not be trusted we adoptees are its a knife in the heart...just because we live and breath.

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  38. @Lorraine.
    "I'm not bashing anybody, and am really quite surprised that you read it that way."

    I'm not surprised at all, without qualifications it seems like you are accusing the adopted ones of being the ones who abandoned you, suggesting they were the ones who should be searching, and that they are untrustworthy.
    Of course, regulars have no reason to think for a moment you meant it that way, but if an adopted newcomer would read this, it could very well be understood as very callous, just a case of a choice of words with very unfortunate implications.

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  39. Hi again everyone,
    Gee, I didn't mean to say I wouldn't trust my daughter at all. I meant that it would be hard not to be wary, as Lorraine says, because she also has offered no explanation at all about her absence. I know that much of it is grief for her husband. But all she said to me, before disappearing into complete silence was "I'll call you when I'm ready to." Lorraine, you hit the nail on the head, in the non-adoption world parents and children don't usually behave that way. However, with due respect, it does happen. I have an uncle who disappeared from my grandparent's life and never said a word. His original issue was with my grandfather and I know he broke my grandmother's heart, but to this day no one knows why. The family was contacted after he died and his siblings brought him "home" to bury him. Sadly, my grandmother had long since died herself. Still, I think the part that is the hardest for me is the casual way my daughter has come and gone in my life and whenever I try to talk to her about it, she won't really say much. My heart completely goes out to her, but if she is treating me like a yo-yo Mom or, as I say, "I love you, go away," it is hard to know what to do. Silence is the most ineffective means of communication.

    I did relate to the stuff about being a symbol. Yes, I see that too, that it's been hard to see her for who she is as an individual and not just the child I lost. Adoptees don't have it easy either.

    Lorraine, thanks for your amazing moderating, as always.

    Angela

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  40. "but each time..." we have to "welcome them back..." I think that clearly states I was talking about the hello/I love you/I'm outta here, phenomenon that mothers who have relinquished are all too familiar with. We mothers understand the cause, we even accept that our action was the cause, but living with the result 20 years later does make us self-protective. And maybe it's done to us as a means of self-protection too. So it goes.

    After the last time my daughter cut me out for three or four months, and she came back with a bang (a good bang), I actually had the courage to ask her never shut me out again...like she had numerous times, I did not add. Okay, she said immediately. She did not wonder what I was talking about.

    I must admit I had a good day yesterday. I spent the morning on a friend's boat, my step-son and I had a long conversation (following his funny card which arrived a week early), and my alternative universe daughter (whom many of you know about) sent gorgeous flowers from the local florist.

    And Kim won on Survivor. A trifecta!

    Only one person--a guy my age--I did not know wished me Happy Mother's Day. No way would he know if I were or had been a mother or not. It was simply a meaningless gesture, like wishing me Happy Kwanza. I just nodded. I mean, this has got to hurt women who want to have children and can't just as much as it irritates first mothers. It is what it is: a gesture of seeming good will.

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  41. Lorraine wrote:"Ahhh...Angela, you said it right, we welcome our children back but each time we trust them less."

    I'll admit I am another one who nearly blew a gasket when I read that comment.

    Trust indeed! Well, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black. I didn't think you really meant it that way but that comment did come across poorly. I found it very, very hard to trust my n-mother. After all, she had given me away (even if unwillingly) and it took quite a while and seeing that she was consistently there for me for my wariness to wear off. I think we adoptees are well within our rights to be mistrustful after what we have been through.

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  42. Cheech, if you have followed Lorraine's story, she obviously meant that some of us--including her--open our hearts and homes and whatever and then find that the individuals we have welcomed jumps out of the picture without warning or a word, and leaves mothers hanging and wondering what the hell happened while we are crying buckets all over again. How many times do we have to keep banging our head against that particular wall before we realize that stopping hurts less?

    Have you no compassion towards first mothers? Who have tried to rebuild a relationship, told that everything is great, and then get the door slammed at us, over and over?

    Reading these comments, it seems like compassion for mothers who relinquish is impossible.

    We deserve whatever our children want to hand out, right? Is that your thinking? Because you endured the initial damage you are allowed to go on hurting the mother as much as you like? Adoption is an equal opportunity destroyer, damaging both mothers and children. Forever.

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  43. All right, We can understand the "mistrustful" on the part of adoptees, but "mistrust" works both ways. Or are only adoptees allowed mistrust?

    It's human not to trust someone --anyone--who walks out, and then comes back.

    Someone--again, anyone, adopted or not--who ends what seems like a positive relationship for no apparent reason can hardly be trusted not to do it again.

    Or is it always, Off with birth mothers' heads! They don't deserve to be treated decently. Look what they did! That's how a few of these comments read.

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  44. Viktoriasaid"Adoption is an equal opportunity destroyer" YES...YES...YES..it is. there is no going back for the mothers who lost theor children and the chlidren now adults that not only lost their orginal mothers but a whole being...a whole life of living with a biofamily...yes its GONE. There is NO going back.;..there is no pretending that all i have to do is find them..either mother or child and everything will be healed. No, it will not happen...best case scenario is that both mother and adoptee can make an attempt to feel for the other and understand WHY

    NOBODY is intentionally being cruel...nobody wants off with their heads..HAND OUT...WHAT???? ARE You kidding me! I am 54 years old and have 5 children.....DON"T talk to me as if i am a child...don't try the guilt on me either...or any other adoptee most of us are to smart for that.

    In my reunion when the absolute fear, guilt and confusion set it...I ran...because i was being cruel and compassionless? NO...because there was no one that said I will accept you no matter what...you can love both mothers, there is no competion only wants whats best for you...and i had NO idea at the time why i was feeling what i was feeling...and nobody cared about what i was feeling because you see...i had a role to play for my mothers...had to be a good girl for both...

    Maybe if everyone stopped demading compassion and starting giving it both first mothers and adoptees we could get somewhere..but until we as indivuals figure out where the hell we are coming from and continue to DEMAND something the other can't give the reunion is lost

    And many a reunion has been shut down because of lack of understanding and demads from both sides that the other can't give.
    Many adoptees get the shame(hey we are the shame why would't we get it) and fear of "your children walking into your lives and many wait...wait until mothers are ready..many a discsuin i have heard where first mothers can't let their "real family" know about this big dark secret..who is actually a human being...first fathers who can't tell wifes and kids....grandparents who don't want anything to do with there "happy family" and be told to just be thankful and have a wonderful life. Because you see, our presence in their lives just complicates theirs...we get all that..and wait and tiptoe...just because we live and breath...

    Don't talk to me about lack of compassion...haveseen it have felt it, have experianced it...I have a saying DONT take advantage of my compassion..don't guilt me...don't treat me like a child!

    Compassion goes both ways...understanding goes both ways....we need to get out of our own ways and see the other.

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  45. "Have you no compassion towards first mothers?"

    I would suffice to say no, that we are not afforded decency or compassion and are deemed to be walked all over for the rest of our days, or so some think. Us bad bmothers screwed up and by god we will pay until our dying day.

    Not this natural mother. I am done paying for a mistake I made because I TRUSTED people, everyone in my life at the time to treat me with decency, empathy, compassion and fairness. I got none from them, low and behold and now get none from the child I tracked down and tried to reason with in regards to what happened to the BOTH of us. I have been treated coldly and cruelty by my own child and his adopters. The only truth he will hear is that of which is adopters dole out; which is a one sided, biased view in favor of THEM and their families, of course.

    Yes, I am done paying for my mistake. I have been done and I will be done for the rest of my life.

    Funny this "trust" word is being thrown around. Trust goes both ways. My own child made the comment that "with trust our relationship would become more defined". I can hardly "trust" someone who bows down at the altar of people who maliciously deceived me.

    I think too many people come here and take things natural mothers say about their OWN experiences and personalize it and make it about them. You are not our children and we are not your mothers. We, just like you, reflect on our own experiences. Don't try to control someone else's narrative. I am hard pressed as to why people think they have a right to do that, aside from the fact that certain people think because we are natural mothers think they have some right to control us and what we say. My days of being controlled by other people are over. I don't think it would be too far fetched to say that many other mothers feel the same...

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  46. I myself am another one who hates mother's day. This year I tried to get into the Birth Mother's day but instead gave me two miserable days in a row. Maybe better luck next year. I don't know if there is any way around this grief, except live with it. I am also what they call a birth Mother. A word I hate and was referred to it some months back and almost wanted to throw up. What else can they take from me? I lost my daughter unwilling to adoption, to at the time my favorite Aunt in 1984, my daughter was almost 4 yrs old. I let her take care of her while I was going through a hard time in my life, it was only suppose to be for a short time. My aunt talked me into letting her adopt my child for insurance purposes and promised I could have her back as soon as I got on my feet. This way if I ever died she would return back to my Aunt. My aunt played my best friend. Reading so many stories of mother's that have lost their child to adoption's and the tactic's uses seems all so familiar. When I came to my senses and didn't want to sign in fear of losing my daughter, I was threatened by my aunt that the state of Washington and Montana were going to step in and take her and make her a ward of the state and adopt her out to strangers. (Later I found out this was only a lie my aunt used to scare me) It put fear in me, but something told me not too, then my family told me how horrible and selfish I was for not signing papers so my aunt could get medical help for her. I felt worse then the slime that crawls under the earth. I cried at the notary as I signed my signature and thrown out by my family to deal with it on my own. I could go on and on, but I'm sure we all have heard similar stories. I never did get my daughter back, and don't know how to forgive myself for being so naive and strong enough to get out of the situation I was in. I do understand about not trusting. I have been allowed in (if I didn't get to close and tell the truth) a few times over the years until my aunt found ways to make me feel so bad and then lock me out for years. I was allowed in again a year ago and my daughter became distant after she slipped and said I love you, I don't know if it was real or just habit. Guess I may never know. When I asked why and what did I do this time, I was told they did not want any more contact with me, excuse was because I posted a picture of my daughter and I when she was a baby and I had a deviated heart for doing so. My aunt's controlling and abusive, my daughter lives still at home under her thumb with her son and there isn't any thing I can do about it. It's been a game they love to play, first my aunt and now my daughter. It's been real sick over the years, but in desperation I allowed it, one moment to hear her voice was worth it to me. It has weighted on my emotions over the years, but I refuse to let them break me. I decided this year to put my energy into helping other's search for their natural mother's. I have been so blessed to talk with the few adoptee's that I've been trying to help search. Their eagerness to reunite with their biological family has I feel helped to put a healing in my heart. Anyway thank you, I was happy to read your blog and the comments by other's. It made me feel not so alone.

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  47. Hmmm, "demanding compassion."

    Is it "demanding compassion" to expect to be treated with common courtesy and respect, if compassion is out of the question?
    Or is the psychic damage of adoption too great to let adoptees to give simple courtesy and respect as a human being to their birth mothers? Some of you would say so.

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  48. No mother (adoptive, birth, natural, step etc.)should tolerate verbal and/or physical abuse/punishment from anyone, and that includes children- bio, ,adoptive, reunited, and step.

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  49. Read and listen to what we are saying....listen...we are the adotption..we were the ones that had to live as chamlieons...but my my...we dont show enough compassion...Iam done..there is no hope unless there can be adult dialoge nad mutual understanding.

    We as adoptees want to be treated with common courtesy also...but wait we can't be known to our familiy bwecause of the "shame" we cant be who we are because we might hurt someone ...please....and the sad thing is we DO get it..we are willing to wait(for a time) but because an adoptee runs and probaly has no idea why we can't be trusted....

    Sorry but adoption always was about the mothers..both kinds...not about the chidlren....yup, the more i read the more i see the more angry i get....
    Yes, all people are dersved common couresty and respect..both adoptees and first mothers and i am more themn willing to give it and i have...but i demand it back.

    Brenda, my heart breaks for your story and i am so sorry for what the first mothers have had to endure...I get it as much as i can..but to lump peole as cruel, heartless and not having compassion when there is NO attmpt to understand what the innocent one had to endure just boggles my mind.

    I get tring to get strentgh from those that have been through it and only they understand....but not at the behest of the one that was actually removed from a family, made to live with biological strangers(and i did love them as my aprents) and just cope and be grateful....THEN as a group be called not to be trusted...sorry...but the understanding only appears to be going one way.

    There is no hope for reunions, there is no hope for an adoptee to EVER feel complete..to many other factors that have nothing to do with them getting in the way.

    Now I have explain to MY children why this is so. I have told them the truth, that my mother could not keep me, that i was in 6 differnt foster homes because my mother could not keep me...she had no support, her mother would not let me in the house(with good reason ...but really WTF.. i was an infant) that their grandmotther was really a good woman but.... that mimi loved them whole heartldy but no...we don't carry their blood...its a genarational thing that just keeps on giving...

    Then comes reunion.....

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  50. dpen, I don't really understand all your meaning. This discussion got on a side rail. I and the other mothers are talking about going into a reunion, hoping for the best for all parties, but finding it is not possible.

    When people walk away without reason (other than the unexpressed hurt of being adopted) it is hard to welcome them back without feeling, well, skittish about what may come next. That was my original intent. I can understand that adoptees have a built-in wariness, no matter what the reunion seems like. Maybe it is too hard, too emotional to revisit because it opens up too much pain that cannot quite be expressed as it stems from the preverbal stage.

    Mothers like myself hope always for the best for our children, we do not see them as "objects," or pawns between two warring parties, but, first and last, our children, no matter their ages.

    We hope for a reunion that somehow overrides the sorrow of both of the principals' past, but it is obviously difficult to attain.

    What do you mean "demand back"? For many of us birth mothers, it seems that we cannot do enough, enough does not exist, the hurt is bottomless, and we are unable to fill that inchoate void. So what we face is anger--reasonable in its cause but unfathomable in how to deal with. The wall between the two sides is vast and deep. I hate that it is so; I hate that I can feel your pain and anger in your writing though I do not know who you are. I hate that those who encourage adoption have no understanding of the emotional scars it leaves in its wake.

    I am profoundly sorry for your pain.

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  51. When i say i demand compassion back i mean that i have given it and still genralized as not to be trusted and have been genralized as being part of a group called adoptees as being cruel and heartless. I see adopttess trying to explain and they get told all sorts of things...

    I know each first mother has a story and most of the time its heartbreaking...And my natural sense of compassion comes bubbling up then BOOM...we are not to be trusted...we are cruel and heartless....not much of an attempt to really hear the adoptee narrative because its to hard forthe mothers to hear(both) so where does that leave us...alone and on the defensive.

    Also Lorriane...we are a product of our adoption...our triggers come out of nowhehre and sometimes even in my old age can i notfigure it out. If only the mothers would ATTEMPT to hear, see and understand why we react the way we do. But from what i read in my many years of reading is that...not to be redundent...is the adoptee..whther child or adult was born to heal our mothers...whether its the amom for her inferitlity, her need to be needed or whatever...or the nmothers pain of losing their child...

    I know there are some birth mothers that try ..to a point...to bend over backwards. Not sure thats the answer...not sure what the answer is. Maybe acceptance of what is for each indivual person involved. Less judgment and more attempt at understanding. As someone else said each situaion is differnt. There are also many adoptees that try to bend over backwards to gain acceptence from their mothers..but there is so much garbage getting in the way.

    Ruth...TOTALLY agree...real abuse is to not be tolarated by any "child" or mother.

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  52. I am a first timer here so don't beat up on me. please. I accept today that I will never have a good relationship--or maybe any relationship at all--with my found daughter.

    Too much baggage. That seems to be what I am reading here. Accept that this reunion after adoption is such a fucked up situation that it can never be healed. Now I understand her pain but "accepting" her pain and as she is equals no relationship as she "can not deal with me now."

    Every comment about a particular situation does not generalize for every adoptee, but that seems to be how it is being interpreted.

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  53. My experience has been that trust and respect have to be slowly built, from both sides in reunion, with patience and love rather than blame and generic excuses.

    Each of us is dealing with an individual mother or adoptee, not with "natural mothers" or "adoptees" in general, and universalizing and generalizing actions and reactions gets in the way of seeing the unique person whom is your own mother or child.

    D Pen, your natural mother is a public horror and vocal opponent of adoptee rights, and I feel for you having to deal with and be related to such a person. But that does not make all surrendering mothers unworthy of trust or unsympathetic to adoptees.

    As the person who searched, I feel it is my place to try and understand the special circumstances in my son's life that made him wary of instant connection, not to accuse him of being untrustworthy or expecting anything from him. I am the one who has to earn his trust by always being here from now on, not the other way around.

    He owes me nothing and the love I feel for him is unconditional and does not require reciprocation. That he communicates with me at all is a miracle and gift, not something I can expect or demand.It is very freeing to stop keeping score of what is "owed" to you as a mother, and to just "be" in relation to your child, however that works out.

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  54. Oooops! I had thought that dpen was another Penn, Elaine Penn, a NJ adoptee who found the worst mother ever, a woman who actively campaigns against adoptee rights and has been vicious to Elaine. My terrible mistake, luckily pointed out to me.

    So sorry, dpen, I do not know your story and did not mean you, a case of similar name and mistaken identity.

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  55. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a great supporter of first mothers and have always done my best to understand the complexities behind relinquishment. Also, personally I have always been very respectful of my own first family and would never leave them in the lurch without any explanation.

    However, like the other adoptees on here, I did feel pain when Lorraine said what she did. This is because we are caught in the middle. We are trying to please everybody and sometimes something has to give.

    I do think that if an adoptee or first mother needs time alone, they need to explain why rather than just disappearing so I do understand the anger about that in particular. Having said that, I do find adoptees distancing themselves easier to understand that first moms distancing themselves, not just because I'm an adoptee but because we are coming from a different place.

    To me, a first mom meeting their child is like going back to a country they had visited before; for adoptees, we don't even know what country we are visiting. We have to work out what country we are in before even beginning to understand anything about it. We are also torn between two countries and society is often telling us that one country deserves our support more than the other. We are also made to feel bad for even caring about our original country.

    c

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  56. On a more personal note, I had a lovely "mothers day" with a biological cousin. Interestingly, she considered relinquishing her firstborn (this is back in the 60s) but her family and boyfriends (now husband of many years) came to her rescue.

    I did feel sadness thinking of my own first mother. She gave birth to 3 children but never got to raise any of them (one to adoption (me) and twins (died at birth)) yet she sounds like she would have been a wonderful mum if she had ever had the opportunity. I wish she lived longer than she did as well as she was still quite young when she passed away. Would she ever wanted to have met her firstborn? I don't know, however I am growing to understand how complicated a first mother's feelings are and that shame can be very corrosive. I like to think that she might have been kind enough to meet me at least once. People who know her say she would have welcomed me with open arms, however, after reading way too many blogs/forums etc, I can no longer be too sure that that would have been the case.

    Despite never getting to meet my own first mom, I do enjoy hearing about others reunions, especially those where they have been difficult to start with. I have read a few great stories lately and I sometimes wonder whether those hardfought reunions where they started out bad many years ago but are now going well are in fact the ones that last the longest.

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  57. C and everyone:

    Because I am not adopted, I can never understand the strangeness of wading into unfamiliar territory that is one's original family. Those of us who open our hearts and homes to our lost children--in my case, a grandchild--and then learn that it was...irritating, find that our openness has turned to a certain wariness. As the saying goes, you can't step in the same river twice. C, thanks for your understanding comment. I am sorry you never met your mother. I am sorry for every adoptee who searches and does not meet her mother.

    My daughter came and went a half dozen times, I'd say, over the course of a quarter of a century. I always welcomed her back, but after he second or third time, I wondered how long she was staying this time. I will be always grateful that near the end, she wrote me a very precious email and said words that will always be comforting, now in her death. As I've asked before, if people knew how damaging adoption was, would they do it?

    No.

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  58. Just another PS in case this was not clear; while my son withdrew at times, at first for a very long time, he has never said a cruel word to me, nor has he ever been abusive, manipulative or nasty in any way, even when he let me know he was angry about some things I had done.

    I know that is not true for some who write here, and I do not think any mother has to put up with real abuse from her children, adopted out or raised, nor do adoptees have to put up with unreasonable behavior or demands from their natural mother or relatives. Sometimes mental illness or just unrealistic expectations on either side make a healthy relationship impossible, and sometimes relatives just do not get along, no fault of anyone.

    Some mothers have had to cut off a contact after many years and after trying everything to help. These were situations that were truly abusive, and in some cases even violent and dangerous. That is not at all the kind of situation I was talking about when I advised patience and tolerance of adoptees doing what they need to do to deal with their situation. Nobody should be a human doormat, mother or adoptee.

    Neither side gets a free pass to be abusive and cruel to the other,even those who have suffered, but in normal reunions, it is important to have empathy and patience and try to see the other's point of view, insecurity, and loss.

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  59. At my local Walmart they gave out single stem gorgeous roses to all the women who came in on Mother's Day. Maybe they should call it "Womanhood Celebration day" instead. I found it sweet they have out roses. Some people might have been offended by that but that would have been a choice on their part. Walmart was just trying to celebrate the women in our lives.

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  60. Hmm well all I can say is I'm glad my bio mom gave me up to a better equipped family. She was struggling to take care of my older half sister and my bio dad wasn't part of the picture. She didn't want to raise us on welfare. She wasn't a teenager and it wasn't an easy decision for her. But I feel an overwhelming sense of love for the woman I never met. I can speak for all bio moms, but I feel most give up thier children in hopes they will live a better life. I can't stand bitter adoptees who have to act like every bio mom put there is an evil witch please go see a psychiatrist and DEAL. All I wish is that my bio mom was easier to find. I want to meet her. My adoptive mother got
    Cancer and passed away when I was 17 I'm not 24 and have a 2 yr old son and an looking for my bio mom but hard with no last name and adoption agency wants a lot of $$ I don't have :(

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  61. Anon,
    It's good that you feel sympathy for your first mother and are not bitter. However, I strongly suggest that if you do meet your first mother, that you do NOT tell her you're glad she "gave you up to a better life." Since yours was a closed adoption, you don't know the circumstances. It's possible, if not likely, that the agency or attorney who arranged the adoption told your adoptive parents what they wanted to hear with little regard for the truth.

    Your first mother may have been in difficult circumstances but within a few years, she may have gotten her life back on track. It's likely she has grieved for you ever since you left her arms. Telling her you were glad you were adopted is telling her she was unfit to raise you; it's pouring salt in her wounds.

    Would you feel good if your mother says to you, "I'm glad I didn't raise you"? Of course not; you'd be deeply hurt.

    It's true that many mothers today give up their babies in hopes of a better life. Years later, mothers learn that while their child had some material advantages, they did not have a better life; nothing could make up for the loss they suffered.

    As far as searching, check out Searching for Birth Relatives. This is a US Government website with great information on searching. I'd also encourage you to join a support group--a good source to find a support group is the American Adoption Congress. And check out the excellent list of recommended books on the Origins-USA website.

    We wish you well and hope you write again.

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